Will HAL Tejas in future be armed with Brahmos Missile?
Though there are news from DRDO and Brahmos Aerospace Ltd that a lighter varient of Brahmos is under development which can be integrated with LCA Tejas MK1 and MK1A. This varient is known as Brahmos NG. It’s weight will be around 1500 kg and warhead of 200 kg. All other flight characteristics will be equivalent like current Brahmos. In 2019’s Aero India exhibition a mock up of Tejas with Brahmos NG is being shown. It seems both DRDO and Brahmos Aerospace is marketing for this new missile.
A lighter sleeker variant of the Indo-Russian cruise missile dubbed as Brahmos-NG (Next Generation ) will be ready for developmental trials by 2024 said recently a top official of the Brahmos Aerospace. Indo-Russian joint venture company will develop a 1.5-ton Brahmos-NG which is nearly 1 ton lesser in terms of weight when compared to Brahmos-A missiles in service with Indian Air Force (IAF) and 1.5 ton lighter when compared to BrahMos currently in service today with the Indian Army and Indian Navy.
The BrahMos NG assumes significance as it will be capable of being launched from all platforms like air, water and sea. It will be compatible for launches through ground launch vehicles, destroyers and other naval attack vessels, torpedo tubes in submarines and air launch as well. It will be highly versatile and will prove to be a potent weapon that will bolster our strike capabilities as well as improve export offerings. The current version has failed to draw much attention from the market in terms of export demand. This will be a more desirable variant, we believe,” a source in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) told this newspaper.
Will Tejas we able to carry one Brahmos under its fuselage?
Brahmos cruise missile had to be stripped off its weight considerably(500kg) to make it viable for Sukhoi Su 30 MKI(currently the heaviest multirole fighter in service) to carry it. This is not without compromising the operational parameters of the aircraft which means when this aircraft is loaded with BrahMos, it cannot carry most of the other weapons like a2a or a2s missiles. So any mission carrying BrahMos requires the aircraft to be escorted by other fighters for its protection. Now this aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of close to 40 tonnes. This is more than three times that of HAL LCA Tejas which has the max takeoff weight of just around 14 tonnes.
Though theoretically Tejas can carry two brahmos missile of total weight of 3000kg where Tejas’s load carrying capacity is 4000 kg. But in reality any fighter plane never carry its maximum load. Majority of time fighter planes carry less than half of their actuall load carrying capacity. Any fighter aircrafts airframe life depends on its operational loads. If Fighter aircrafts regularly carry a lot load their airframe life reduces. So be sure if Brahmos NG ever integrated with Tejas than only one missile will be allow to carry.
Future variant of MWF Tejas has a maximum all-up payload capacity of 6500 kg with increase in weapon carrying capacity two Brahmos-ng can be easily accommodated